cc: Cheap energy, wasting food, and building community.
I wish all that participate good luck on making your food quantity match your needs, budgeting anything can be a challenge. Luck to all of us to do better, too!
Reading Crunchy’s article, it occurred to me – if you have too much food around, does that mean you aren’t feeding friends and neighbors often enough?
Which brings up Sharon Astyk’s concern about community building as a necessary part of Peak Oil preparation. How can you balance a tightly planned menu with trading meals – having guests, or eating elsewhere – at either planned or spontaneous events or invitations?
In the last few decades many of us have come to think of meal time as the family only, when we should also be considering sharing hospitality and meals. I can remember, years ago, recipes always came with suggestions on how to stretch the unexpectedly for an extra plate or two.
My Dad farmed. When trading work, if you were at the neighbor’s place at noon, or they were at your place for shared work – mid-day meal was provided and expected. And was almost as substantial as a social event related to the work, as a substantial “hungry man’s” meal.
I would like to see adding a guest invitation per week to the reduce waste challenge.
Because I think that what is needed isn’t just parsimony – using the bare minimum. I think we need to use that frugality to amass useful and usable surplus – wealth. Wealth, or surplus, allows us to be generous. You cannot give when you don’t have a needed asset.
When growing up, I recall spending weeks visiting cousins and my grandparents from year to year. This kept the extended family together, expanded our awareness of the world and different ways to live, and exposed us to different kinds of discipline and even different ways to prepare food.
Eating at a neighbor’s house happened at least monthly, if not every other week or so, more often in the summer. You know, when you could send someone to the garden for an extra bowl of peas and tomatoes for the dinner already on the stove.
I see Crunchy’s mid-winter food waste challenge as being a great exercise in planning and values. But I would hate to have someone overlook keeping a well-stocked pantry, and using it well to offer hospitality and build relationships and community. Or even just to brag a bit on canning, gardening, and cooking skills. Because that happened a bit, too. Anyone could feel just a bit content, for a reputation as setting a “good” table.
I am thinking my plans for a garden are even more important than I thought, if I can use it to stretch food resources to cover more shared meals. Now if I can just get the clutter off the pile where I think I left the kitchen table. . .